Fraser Suites Suzhou is the kind of furnished serviced apartment that corporate clients dream of. Most of its in-house guests are from among the world’s most successful companies with 80% of its residents coming from fortune 500 companies.
The Fraser Suites Serviced Apartments in Suzhou are located in SIP (Suzhou Industrial Park) and only minutes away from Jinji Lake, various restaurants, shopping malls and metro stations. All of the serviced apartments are fully furnished, and guests can also enjoy a wide range of luxury hotel services, It also offers residents of the serviced apartments facilities such as the gymnasium, swimming pool, children’s play areas, outdoor gardens and sky lounge. What really sets apart the Fraser Suites serviced apartments in Suzhou is the 24-hour services, English / Chinese / Japanese / Korean speaking staff available for personal assistance, a full range of high-standard facilities, and guaranteed safety.
We recently has the change to sit down with the general manager for the Fraser Suites Serviced Apartments in Suzhou and ask him about himself, his business and the keys to successfully managing the serviced apartments in Suzhou.
You’ve had a long career in hospitality. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your career?
I was born in China and brought up in Hong Kong. My father was Malaysian, and he came to China during world war 2 to help with the war effort. He ended up going college here, and that is how I happened to be born here. I started my career in hospitality in the 1980’s. After I graduated from the United States high school that I attended I moved to Switzerland for hotel management training. Following this, I started working as an apprentice in Zurich. While there I picked up the German language, a love for skiing, and I learned a lot about the culture and preference of Europeans. After graduation I went back to Hong Kong and worked with the Regent Hotel Brand. I started at the front desk, moved to sales and marketing, and on to operations. After that I held positions with the Grand Hyatt and the Shangri-La, which were both great working experiences for me.
Before I found Fraser Suites, I spend the previous 10 years at the InterContinental Hotels Group. Fraser was a new kind of business compared to my previous 20 years working in hotels. – Managing serviced apartments in Suzhou has been a new challenge for me.
Looking back, I would choose managing serviced apartments over hotels because it’s a change to create a home away from home for my clients.
What would you say is the most important factor when it comes to running the Fraser suites serviced apartments in Suzhou?
The service element is the most critical park of management. This is what makes Fraser suites special. It is about attention, developing relationships, spending time getting to know the residents. I feel like the bonding is important, and it is what I enjoy the most. There are people from many walks of life and industries staying in the apartments and it provides a wonderful mix for the community.
What would you say is the most distinctive aspect of the Suzhou Fraser Suites Serviced Apartments ?
Undeniably location is one important feature, especially as S.I.P offers a lifestyle that is attractive to many foreigners. However what is most distinctive about the Fraser Suites are the core brand standards. For example the ‘retreat’ is one of our best features, and it is very popular with our residents. It is a relaxation room equipped with massage chairs, offering a tranquil environment in which to unwind. Another feature that is popular is the ‘kid’s place’ where kids can play with tours and each other, on soft floors with suitable equipments. We recently installed an outdoor area for children to play that compliments the indoor area we already had. Seeing the kids really enjoying their stay by having this ‘front yard’ to play in is a great feeling for me, and I know our residents with children appreciate having it. In addition, the community that is built here in Fraser Suites sets us apart from most other establishments. We actively encourage community building through events like our potlucks in the garden, at which residents bring dishes from their home countries and everyone shares them, giving each person an opportunity to show his or her own culture while appreciating that of others. Finally, one of the most significant structural aspects of the Suites if the ‘Pinnacle’, our fifty-fifth floor area for residents only, which includes a billiard room, the sky lounge, meeting facilities, a library, and the previously mentioned retreat and sky garden, all with phenomenal views of the city.
There is some competition among the serviced apartments in Suzhou, How will you stay competitive?
There are no direct competitors to Fraser Suites in Suzhou because this product is different from other brands. While some hotels may have long-term guests, most clients who want a more home-like feel opt for us. Local residences offer homes, but these are not serviced, and thus we have the niche for our particular type of housing – a home feel with a full range of services. For the time being, we are the preferred choice for those in the market for our kind of offering.
What makes a business like Serviced apartments successful ?
While service, community, location and market are all important factors for making a business successful, I believe it is essential for a company to make clear that it is committed to the community in which it operates. For this reason we have recently started reaching out to our community through social work, and we are currently helping a girl whose father has cancer and recently had an accident making him unable to work. We do not force our staff to participate in these endeavours, but rather allow them opportunities to volunteer with such projects, and in this way we offer them avenues into the local community that may be difficult for them to find alone.
What is your favourite part of the job ?
There are many: all of the possibilities for reaching out; working with the talented staff and encouraging them to function as a strong team; and creating a community and enjoying it with the residents.